How much should a personal trainer charge?

Personal trainers in London charge on average about £50 per session, while those living outside the capital charge less, usually £30-£40. More experienced or specialised trainers can charge up to £80 per hour. But these raw figures hide a mass of factors that you should take into account, whether you are a PT setting your prices or a trainee shopping around, so read on to find out more.

If you want to know how much a personal trainer should cost, you're probably thinking about hiring one and wondering if the fees this fabulous fitness trainer just quoted you are over the top or par for the course.

Or you could be interested from the other side – perhaps you are a personal trainer and you want to compare your own prices to others in London (or wherever you are).

Either way, the first thing to know is that the basic rate – personal trainer cost per hour – depends primarily on the trainer's experience. If a trainer is just starting out on their career, with not much experience and no reputation, then the cost, on average, will be pretty low. On the other hand, someone who has built up their knowledge and taken a bunch of further personal training qualifications will have invested more in themselves, and charge more. Most new PTs, of course, start off freelancing in a gym with no guaranteed hours and no clients of their own. Also the hourly pay is quite low – typically £15 to £17 per hour. If the gym isn’t so busy and the few clients get snapped up by the established PTs there, it’s all too easy for the newcomers to make very little money per month. This may be one reason for the high dropout rate among newly qualified PTs.

Of course, as a client, this isn't your problem. You pay your gym membership fees, and you get access to a few trainers. The fitness trainer rates are probably right there on their profile on the gym wall. The question "How much does a personal trainer cost?" is more likely to come up if you're looking for a freelancer.

Freelancing perks and costs

Given how tough it is to make money in a gym, it’s no wonder that new personal trainers aspire to freelancing – having their own client list and making a respectable living. But this involves not only high risk but also a fair number of costs. For example, a private trainer will need public liability insurance in case a client suffers an injury following your advice in training and decides to sue for damages.

Then there’s marketing costs. To advertise your services you’ll need to be in a professional directory, maybe in the local paper, and Yellow Pages or other online listings sites. You’ll spend hours organising your client list schedule, creating workout routines and keeping spreadsheets of your payments and income. All of the above costs time and money for which you’re not being paid.

Therefore it’s only natural that self-employed personal trainers have to charge a lot more per hour than they are paid by gyms. But at the same time, they're free of the margin added on by gyms to cover their high overheads.

As a freelance personal trainer, you're paying for the overhead costs of the gym

As a freelance personal trainer, you're paying for the overhead costs of the gym

Who charges what?

If you're thinking of biting the bullet and going freelance, you might ask "How much should I charge as a personal trainer?" Well, it's all dependent on your context – you will need to be within the average rate for your area. Personal trainers in London necessarily charge more than those living outside the capital, and here, as mentioned above, according to the most recent figures, the average price per session was £50. More established trainers who have built up a reputation can charge up to £80 per hour and of course celebrity trainers charge hundreds of pounds per hour.

As a customer, you might find mention of the higher end of these prices scary or ridiculous. But at the end of the day, a private trainer is worth whatever you are willing to pay for the change they can help you make. Only you know what that change is, and what it's worth to you. So keep an eye on your progress and don't be afraid to ask questions about what a reasonable expectation of progress should be.

Conclusion

Finally, there is the old maxim of "You get what you pay for". This goes both ways. Skilled trainers should think about how to increase their prices and not be tempted to charge too little in order to undercut the competition. You’ll end up doing too many client hours and still not make enough money for your increased costs. You’ll also suffer stress and maybe burnout. Not only that, but it might backfire on you, as clients have a perception of value and low prices implies a low value product. As successful personal trainer Becki Morris told us:

“Don’t undersell yourself. If you advertise cheap, you attract cheap.”